The Best Publishing Companies You Can Trust

Reputable Book Publishing Companies

There are so many different publishing companies and publishing options available to choose from today.

If you are a new author, how do you choose the best publishing option for your book when you are ready to publish it?

When you write a book, the most difficult decision you will have to make is your best publishing option.

You can choose between traditional publishing, self-publishing, or vanity and assisted publishing services.

How do you select the best publisher for you?

For first-time authors, it can be a daunting process.

There is such a wide range of publishing options available.

What are the best publishing companies, and what are your choices?

Which ones are the most reputable companies?

A recommendation is often the best way to judge.

I can vouch for many of the following self-publishing services.

I have used these services myself for many years.

For others, I have had positive feedback from fellow Indie authors who publish many books a year.

All of them provide free or almost free self-publishing services of the highest standard.

For publishing services I have not used, I will give you the opinion from The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) services rating.


Retailers offering self-publishing platforms

Online book retailers are the most popular and best self-publishing providers. These well-known companies offer easy, free ebook self-publishing. Some also offer low-cost print-on-demand paperback publishing.

They are names you trust. But because they are big companies, there is very little technical support available.

For most self-publishing authors, these companies offer a safe, streamlined, and straightforward publishing process. They also offer a high royalty percentage, between 60% and 70%.


Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Recommended

Amazon KDP is by far the largest and most popular self-publishing company in the world. It is also the biggest seller of ebooks and books by a considerable margin.

If you are publishing for the first time, KDP is the best way to make your book available for sale online. You can publish poetry, novels, non-fiction, or even a short story.

There is no doubt that Amazon sells a lot of books and ebooks. So you should have your book on Amazon.

You can choose from two options when you use KDP to publish ebooks. When you upload your book, you can select standard KDP or KDP Select.

You can read more about these two choices in our article, The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity.

Publishing Kindle ebooks is quick and easy, making it one of the best publishers for new authors. The royalty rate is attractive, at 70% for ebooks priced above $2.99.

For many years, Amazon used CreateSpace for print-on-demand paperback publishing. But Amazon KDP has now taken over Createspace, which closed down.

If you plan to sell paperback books on Amazon, you need to understand a little about book formatting.

You need basic technical skills, but publishing a paperback using the Amazon KDP print-on-demand service is not difficult.

For first-time authors, Amazon is probably one of the best publishing options you can choose to use.


Apple iBooks Recommended

Apple Books is a clear number two in the ebook market. Again, you will publish with a very big company. There is very little personal help available.

If you follow the help pages and FAQs, you should have no difficulty publishing your ebook. You can then make your book available to Apple users. Apple’s royalty rate is 70% of your list price.

You can publish directly to Apple Books from the Apple Pages app, or you can use an aggregator. (See more about aggregators below.)


Barnes & Noble Press Recommended

Nook Press is now B&N Press, but it still offers an easy way to self-publish.

You should note that most of its book market is in the United States. Amazon and Apple are both more global.

Its royalty rate is slightly lower than Amazon and Apple at 65% for ebooks priced above $2.99.


Rakuten Kobo Recommended

Most authors know this company as Kobo Books. It is an online publisher and retailer that also sells reading devices to its customers.

Although it has a small share of the global market, Kobo can generate ebook sales for independent authors. Its royalty rate is 70% on ebooks above $2.99.

Like Apple, there is the choice to self-publish directly with Kobo, or you can use an aggregator.


Best Self-Publishing Aggregators

An aggregator is a self-publishing service. You can use one to sell your ebooks on many online ebook retailers.

It is a simple process to self-publish your ebook with an aggregator. You can choose from a large selection of retailers, libraries, and subscription services. Some even let you have your book priced for free.

Your royalty rate is a little lower than if you publish directly with retailers. It is usually 60% for ebooks above $2.99.

But the small reduction is worth the ease of publishing once and setting up distribution to many ebook retailers.


Smashwords Recommended

Smashwords has been in the ebook business for a long time.

It is well-known as one of the best self-publishing options for Indie authors.

Smashwords is a respected service provider and has excellent customer support.

You can make your ebook available on a long list of ebook retailers and lending libraries.

Many authors chose to publish in ebook format on Amazon.

They then use Smashwords to publish and distribute their ebooks to Apple, B&N, Kobo, and many others.


Draft2Digital Recommended

Draft2Digital (D2D) offers a very similar service to Smashwords and is one of the most reliable self-publishing services you can use. Again, its customer service is outstanding.

I must admit that I prefer D2D for one reason.

If you have a lot of titles, D2D has an automatic end-matter function.

When you publish a new title or update an existing one, D2D updates all your back matter.

Additions to your other titles will update automatically.

It is a great facility to have if you publish fiction books in a series.


Self-Publishing Service Providers


Blurb Recommended by ALLi

Blurb specializes in producing books in many different formats.

But for authors, it offers quality trade books with a choice of sizes and cover types. You can also produce ebooks.

It has a bookstore and offers distribution channels, including Apple iBooks, and Amazon, for books and ebooks, as well as Ingram distribution.

The biggest plus for Blurb is that you can publish and produce high-quality books, which you can then sell.


Lulu Recommended

Lulu was one of the first self-publishing services. It is a distributor of ebooks and print books.

It has its own online bookstore, but you can also distribute to other retailers such as Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

With Lulu, you can self-publish hardcover and paperback print books.

Its ebook publishing and distribution services are free. But it also offers paid support services such as editing and cover design.


Bookbaby Rated Excellent by ALLi

BookBaby is a full-service book publisher.

Most of the services, while classed as self-publishing, are, in fact, pay-to-use.

You might not be sure you can do everything. There is a lot you need to do with free self-publishing. If this is the case, Bookbaby’s services could be very helpful for you.


IngramSpark Rated Excellent by ALLi

IngramSpark offers similar paid services to BookBaby.

It is a full-service publisher. It specializes in the worldwide distribution of print books.

This company might be a choice for an author who prefers to outsource the publishing process.


Taking the traditional route

For many authors, their dream is to sign a book deal with one of the major book publishing houses.

Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Publishing Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins are big names. It might give you a chance to get on the bestseller lists.

It is not an easy road to get published by one of the big traditional publishers.

But they are all among the best publishing companies, and they are all highly recommended.

When you take the traditional publishing route, you will need to find a literary agent willing to represent you.

It can be a long and frustrating process. There are rejections and waiting for replies, and complying with complicated submission guidelines.

But you could get lucky and manage to secure an agent. Then, it will be up to your agent to offer your book proposal to potential publishers.

If you are offered a publishing contract, it will take up to a year before your book is published. In some cases, you may be offered an advance. But this is not as generous as it was in years gone by.

The big benefit, of course, is that your publisher will meet all the costs.

It will include editing, design, and production costs. You will also be assured of being paid your due royalties on time and in full.


Assisted Self-Publishing Services

You can find many small companies online that offer assisted self-publishing services.

It would be fair to say that these companies range from the good to the bad to the ugly.

I have referred to the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) a few times already in this article.

ALLi maintains an extensive watchdog list of the worst and best publishing companies and publishing services with advisory notes. I would suggest that you bookmark this link for future reference.

The image below shows a small selection of the ratings for a handful of companies and service providers.

If you are thinking about using any small online business to help you publish your book, check this list first.

If a company name is in red with an advisory notice, be careful.

You should take note that there have been serious problems reported. If a company is marked in yellow, you should be cautious.

Look for a company marked in green or blue with an excellent rating.

You can then be reasonably sure that you will receive good service from a vetted company.

ALLi publishing advisory notices for publishers and publishing services

As you can see from the image above, many publishers marked in red are not recommended.


Small Press publishers

There are some fantastic, hard-working small press publishers. But some are not so good.

Like all new small businesses, many fail within the first two or three years.

So this can cause enormous problems for authors. Very often, it means that you have no way to get your book rights back.

When you sign a contract with a small press publisher, you will be signing over your book rights.

It will be up to the book publisher to pay your royalties. So you need to be very confident that the publisher can fulfill its part of your contract.

If you are considering signing with a small press, do your research first and check its ALLi rating.

Look for companies that have been around for a long while and have a solid track record of success.

In my case, I am signed with a small press publisher to publish my audiobooks. I can say that I am completely satisfied.

However, I hear of many cases where authors have experienced a lot of difficulties.

I would recommend that you proceed with caution.


Related reading: Publishers To Avoid And Author Scams


Vanity Press Publishers Avoid

The first point to make here is that vanity publishing is definitely not self-publishing.

Vanity publishers charge you a lot of money to produce your book.

In other words, they are selling your book to you, the author, and not to readers.

There have been many complaints and court cases over the years involving vanity press publishers.

If you receive an unsolicited offer to publish your book, beware.

Here are some well-known vanity publishers that you should avoid.


AuthorHouse Not Recommended

Watchdog advisory notices for authorhouse and authorhouse UK

AuthorSoltions, also called AuthorHouse, operates under many other business names.

Beware of the following company names that AuthorHouse also uses.

Archway Publishing, Author Learning Center, AuthorHouse, AuthorHouse UK, AuthorHive, Balboa Press, Balboa Press UK, Booktango, GABAL Global Editions, iUniverse, LifeRich Publishing, Palibrio, Partridge Publishing, Partridge Africa, Partridge India, Partridge Singapore, Trafford Publishing, WestBow Press, Wordclay and Xlibris.

You should take extreme caution if you are considering publishing with any of these companies.


Strategic Book Publishing SBPRA Not Recommended

avoid SBPRA

This company is the subject of multiple alerts.

I receive spam emails from SBPRA almost every week, even though I have never subscribed to its mailing list.

I have tried unsubscribing but without success. As you can see from the alert above, it currently owes $125,000 to authors.

So it is a book publishing company that you should avoid at all costs.

Tate Publishing Not Recommended

avoid Tate publishing

The warning above is clear: This is a problem publisher. There have been many complaints and also criminal proceedings.


Summary. What are your safest choices?

The best and recommended choices

Without a doubt, the safest way to get your books published is to self-publish.

Use any of the major online book retailers that offer self-publishing platforms or use an ebook aggregator.

If you only want to publish ebooks, then Amazon KDP plus your choice of an aggregator is all you need.

By self-publishing in this way, you are in full control, and you will be paid the highest royalty rate.

The other safe way is to try to get published by a traditional publishing house.


The other choices that come with a caution

Outside of these options, the publishing industry becomes more difficult to judge.

Take care if you wish to sign with a small press publisher or use an assisted self-publishing service. Do your research and check before you commit yourself.

Be careful also if you receive any unsolicited offer to publish your book.

Whenever you think something is too good to be true, it almost always is.

Lastly, avoid vanity publishing.

Or at least know what you are getting yourself into and how much it will cost you in the end.

But it is usually a lot of money with no guarantee at all of any book sales.


Related reading: The Five Options You Have To Help Get Your Book Published

24 thoughts on “The Best Publishing Companies You Can Trust”

  1. Thank you for all this information. I am, in truth, overwhelmed. I am working on my first book, and feel it’s time to put my toe in the water on publishing. I don’t know any authors to ask for advice, so I deeply appreciate yours. I am retired and have no money, so if someone asks for upfront fees, click. Again, thank you!

    1. You won’t hear anything, because the contract says you can’t bad mouth them. Bradley is very heavy handed and rude. The costs from them have gone up for something you can get done on Fivver (covers and maps), and a grand or two for editing. The rest of what SLP does can be done on Ingramspark. As for advertising… … …
      I’ve given up on waiting for royalties.
      Anon (because I don’t want to be named)

  2. You have not included hybrid publishers in this article. I would be interested in hearing your thought about this route to publishing a book

  3. DO NOT use Truman Publishing in Claremont, CA. They make it sound like you are going to be the Academy Award winning novel. They take your money and run. I asked for my $899.00 refunded. I was told it would take 20 days. I’ve never received a dime. They don’t answer phones or return phone messages. Through their FAX number I have sent a 1099C – forgiving them of the debit they owe me and now they will have to pay it to the IRS as ordinary income. They are a scam.

  4. After reading this article, I looked up each of the recommended publishing houses. I found a vast difference in what they offer and their descriptions of what they offer. All seem to emphasize ebooks while i like a real book and want to produce a real book with a a complementary ebook – but the focus is on something I can hold. . I found the sites less helpful on the services they provide to produce a real book. Some sites – like Smashwords – was incomprehensible for me.
    Some of the sites seem to describe themselves as simply a printing company.
    I need more help
    Most say little about how to go about obtaining copyright.
    I don’t mind paying for services that I am not skilled at doing – I would just like them to be more clear. BookBaby is one of the few that gave clear instructions.
    I need more help deciding.

  5. hi does anyone type your manuscript and edit and proof read it like amazon. for example. mine manuscript is done and just sitting here. I have already paid a man $4000 and he has no patience and angry all the time so dropped him want this to be a fun time and I am not organized but am learning

  6. Avatar for Dorothy Van Horn
    Dorothy Van Horn

    I need advice. The book I want published is for individuals with kidney failure. Would it be best published in paperback, hardback , digital, or all three. I’m not technical wise:(

    Would Amazon KDP be best since I’m a neophyte?

    Thank you

  7. Avatar for Shellie Green-Baker
    Shellie Green-Baker

    You have a person in a law suit with Author House. I published by book with Xlibris that is under that umbrella. Is there a way I can find out who the law firm is they are using. I too would like to follow up with a law suit. I have paid them almost $30,000 and they have not fulfilled my packages and only want to argue that they have. I am done trying.

    1. Xlibris has been selling my book since 2016 on Amazon. I have seen used copies for sale from as far away as Australia. They do not answer calls and continue to offer my book without my consent or permission. They have never given me any accounting of sold books and never a penny of royalties. This is NOT a company any author should even consider.

  8. I have a finished poetry manuscript i will like to have published. Just that i don’t have money to afford the cost of editing, cover design, printing and distribution of the book, in any of the formats of publishing books.
    Can i get help of where to present this need for its fulfillment.

  9. Great website, Derek!
    So far I’m only on Amazon/KDP; about to launch elsewhere right now. Another article of yours has inclined me to D2D for ebooks, but I’m hesitating over print.
    Ingram Spark makes total sense with their wide distribution (everyone else seems to use them, so why employ a middleman?), but there’s a fair few dire reviews out there. People saying the print quality has been variable from one batch to another – or sometimes even within the same batch – and poor customer service to put it right.
    I’ll carry on getting my author copies from KDP, but if a bookshop returned an IS book for flaws, would IS charge me the wholesale price like an ordinary return? Or, just as bad, if I make the book non-returnable, would IS not allow a bookshop to return a faulty one? (I know returnable is industry standard, but I couldn’t afford to pay wholesale price for any books destroyed – and at $20 per book postage, I certainly couldn’t afford to have them sent back to me!!)
    I can’t see anything in the T&Cs or on their site. Have you picked up feedback on these issues from your readers?

    1. Books can be mailed thru the United Staes Postal Service at the MEDIA MAIL RATE., which is a lot cheaper than Priority Mail with their nice free boxes. Go to a local market or store, get the box for free, and tape to mail it with. Then TELL the people at the Post Office you want it mailed at MEDIA MAIL RATES, AND DON’T LET THEM BROWBEAT YOU INTO PRIORITY MAIL!!! I know how it works…I retired from there. Dennis

  10. Have written short stry book red neck some bad language etc don’t no what to do with it most are real life don’t no what direction totals 78yrs young&

  11. Most excellent site, something I have tried to find for some time. Have my first book published with Author House. Got my feet wet. Oh well, I’ll dry off and continue my journey. Will break the contract, then try to see if they have plagiarized my book like they have done with others. Have fifty six other ideas I’m working on, and with the information I found on your site, feel that I might stand a chance at getting something positive done. Sites like yours should be considered bibles of the literary world. Many thanks.

  12. Avatar for Dr. Robert Sylvester
    Dr. Robert Sylvester

    I have been approached by several of these companies to help market my books, the latest is Author Lair. Each company wants money and I think for the most part they are plain and simple, scammers.
    My book was published by Abbott Press, they did a good job and the final product looks fine but they don’t do much as far as marketing the book, although they did get it on the net and with mainstay book stores on line, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million as well as over seas book stores.
    I am thinking about Amazon Publishers, sending a copy of the manuscript but I have been told that if you have already self published like with Abbott the chances are that other companies will not pick you up.
    Any thoughts.

    1. Any time you receive an unsolicited offer to publish your book, you should be very cautious. It is almost always a hard sell vanity publisher. The best advice is to check the ALLi list of vetted publishers. There are many reputable publishers and small press in the list that you could consider contacting if you want to use a publisher.

  13. Avatar for Charles H Pierce
    Charles H Pierce


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